After the sign-up bonus, you still have to contend with the hefty annual fee. Two-thirds of cards that offer upfront rewards of more than $1,000 have annual fees of $450.
"The math doesn't work as well in year two," Schulz said. "Make sure the card fits your lifestyle."
For example, cards from Chase and American Express offer generous points and perks for frequent travelers, but that won't matter if you stay at home.
Scott Bilker, founder of credit-card advice website DebtSmart.com, notes that Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders have to book their travel through Chase, which may not have the best deals compared to what can be found elsewhere.
While requiring cardholders to book travel through Chase is not technically not a restriction, it can limit the value of those reward points, Bilker said.
"It's why I prefer cards that give me cash back," said Bilker, who said he has 45 credit cards and a credit score of above 820.
You may be tempted to take advantage of the rich sign-up bonuses and then bolt. If you do that, keep the account open for at least six months to minimize the damage to your credit score, Schulz said.